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Uganda: Latest Statements and News
18 Oct 2011
Please find below information about recent developments related to the International Criminal Court's (ICC) investigation in Uganda.
On 14 October, United States President Barack Obama authorized a small number of U.S. forces to deploy to central Africa to provide assistance to regional forces that are working toward the removal of the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army leader and ICC suspect Joseph Kony. Kony, along with other senior LRA commanders, is wanted by the ICC for alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Northern Uganda.
This message includes a statement by the US President and the above-mentioned (I) as well as related news and opinion (II).
Please take note of the Coalition's policy on situations before the ICC (below), which explicitly states that the CICC will not take a position on potential and current situations before the Court or situations under analysis. The Coalition, however, will continue to provide the most up-to-date information about the ICC.
A. UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT STATEMENT
"Letter from the President to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate Regarding the Lord's Resistance Army," The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, 14 October 2011, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/10/14/letter-president-speaker-house-representatives-and-president-pro-tempore
"... For more than two decades, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has murdered, raped, and kidnapped tens of thousands of men, women, and children in central Africa. The LRA continues to commit atrocities across the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Sudan that have a disproportionate impact on regional security. Since 2008, the United States has supported regional military efforts to pursue the LRA and protect local communities. Even with some limited U.S. assistance, however, regional military efforts have thus far been unsuccessful in removing LRA leader Joseph Kony or his top commanders from the battlefield. In the Lord's Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009, Public Law 111 172, enacted May 24, 2010, the Congress also expressed support for increased, comprehensive U.S. efforts to help mitigate and eliminate the threat posed by the LRA to civilians and regional stability.
In furtherance of the Congress's stated policy, I have authorized a small number of combat equipped U.S. forces to deploy to central Africa to provide assistance to regional forces that are working toward the removal of Joseph Kony from the battlefield. I believe that deploying these U.S. Armed Forces furthers U.S. national security interests and foreign policy and will be a significant contribution toward counter LRA efforts in central Africa.
On October 12, the initial team of U.S. military personnel with appropriate combat equipment deployed to Uganda. During the next month, additional forces will deploy, including a second combat-equipped team and associated headquarters, communications, and logistics personnel. The total number of U.S. military personnel deploying for this mission is approximately 100. These forces will act as advisors to partner forces that have the goal of removing from the battlefield Joseph Kony and other senior leadership of the LRA. Our forces will provide information, advice, and assistance to select partner nation forces. Subject to the approval of each respective host nation, elements of these U.S. forces will deploy into Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The support provided by U.S. forces will enhance regional efforts against the LRA. However, although the U.S. forces are combat equipped, they will only be providing information, advice, and assistance to partner nation forces, and they will not themselves engage LRA forces unless necessary for self defense. All appropriate precautions have been taken to ensure the safety of U.S. military personnel during their deployment.
I have directed this deployment, which is in the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive. I am making this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution (Public Law 93 148). I appreciate the support of the Congress in this action. ..."
II. RELATED NEWS AND OPINIONS
A. COALITION MEMBERS QUOTED
1. "Roth Discusses U.S. Intervention In Uganda," NPR, 17 October 2011, http://www.npr.org/2011/10/17/141434075/roth-discusses-u-s-intervention-in-uganda
"Human Rights Watch has long lobbied the U.S. government to take action against the Lord's Resistance Army, a rebel group that has terrorized central Africa since the 1980s. Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth talks to Melissa Block about President Obama's announcement late last week that about 100 members of the U.S. military will be sent to Uganda to help the local government combat the rebels.
... BLOCK: Your group, Human Rights Watch, produced a video last year. It's called "Dear Obama: a Message from Victims of the Lord's Resistance Army." [...] Kenneth Roth, who are we hearing from in this video? What is their message to President Obama?
ROTH: We are hearing from residents of northern Democratic Republic of Congo. These are just local villagers who live in the area that has been ravaged by the Lord's Resistance Army, and they are pleading to President Obama to do something to help them. The Lord's Resistance Army is really one of the most brutal, vicious forces around. And it exists by essentially approaching a village, killing as many adults as it can find and then kidnapping the children, some just shockingly young, and forcing the boys to become child soldiers and the girls, in essence, to become so-called bush wives. It is just creating havoc in this part of the world, but the area is so remote that most people have no idea that it's going on.
BLOCK: And talk a bit, if you would, please, about leader Joseph Kony, the head of this brutal force, the Lord's Resistance Army.
ROTH: Well, I've obviously never met Kony, very few people have, but he is described as a charismatic figure who, I think, in a sense sees himself as having a direct pipeline to the Lord, hence the name the Lord's Resistance Army. He certainly wanted to overthrow the Ugandan government, but he never presented a formal political program. It's not as if he offered a vision of what a LRA-led government would look like. He was simply against the government, which is against him. This is a programmatically empty group that really exists mainly for the purpose of perpetuating itself.
BLOCK: We mentioned that these atrocities have been going on now for decades. Why do you think President Obama took this action now, to send these 100 U.S. troops into the region as advisers?
ROTH: I think he took the step now because in a sense this is a good opportunity. The Lord's Resistance Army is more isolated than it had been. When it was operating in northern Uganda, it was a more formidable force. Having been chased into northern Congo, it really has been reduced, by most estimates, to, say, 200, 250 core fighters and then several hundred abducted fighters in addition...."
2. "Rights Groups Welcome US Decision to Send Troops to Uganda," Voice of America, 15 October 2011 http://www.voanews.com/english/news/africa/Rights-Groups-Welcome-US-Decision-to-Send-Troops-to-Uganda-131918368.html
"Human rights groups are welcoming the U.S. decision to deploy 100 U.S. troops to central Africa to support the regional fight against a guerrilla group known for atrocities against civilians.
One of those groups, Human Rights Watch, has been urging the Obama administration to increase efforts to protect people from the Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army.
The rebel group, led by Joseph Kony, has been accused of kidnapping children, murder and rape in Uganda and neighboring countries. ..."
3. "Human Rights Group Welcomes Obama's Decision to Send Troops to Uganda," by Robert Mackey, NYT, 14 October 2011 http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/14/human-rights-group-welcomes-obamas-decision-to-send-troops-to-uganda/
B. RELATED NEWS
1. "U.S. to Go After Kony and the LRA," by Ron Capps, Time, 16 October 2011 http://battleland.blogs.time.com/2011/10/16/u-s-to-go-after-kony-and-the-lra/
2. "Ugandan Troops Had Wanted LRA Leader in Its Sights," by Jason Straziuso, AP, 16 October 2011, http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/ugandan-troops-wanted-lra-leader-sights-14754063
3. "U.S. hunting for war criminal - President sends forces to Uganda against Lord's Resistance Army leader," by Scott Wilson and Craig Whitlock, Times Union, 15 October 2011 http://www.timesunion.com/news/article/U-S-hunting-for-war-criminal-2219829.php
4. "Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army: a primer," by Elizabeth Flock, Washington Post, 14 October 2011, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/obama-deploys-combat-forces-to-fight-lords-resistance-army-in-central-africa/2011/10/14/gIQAYB8KkL_blog.html
5. "LRA: 5 Things to know about the Lord's Resistance Army," by Jordan Helton, Global Post, 17 October 2011, http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/111017/lra-uganda-lords-resistance-army
6. "Uganda Foray Misses Big Picture," OP-ED, Investor's Business Daily, 17 October 2011, http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/588400/201110171900/Uganda-Foray-Misses-Big-Picture.aspx
7. "Barack Obama deploys US special forces to central Africa," by Alex Spillius, The Telegraph, 14 October 2011, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/barackobama/8828528/Barack-Obama-deploys-US-special-forces-to-central-Africa.html
8. "Obama orders 100 troops to Uganda," by Justin Sink, The Hill, 14 October 2011, http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/187679-obama-orders-100-troops-to-uganda-in-hunt-for-accused-war-criminal
9. "US sends in troops to take on Africa's most barbaric guerrillas," by Mark S Smith, Bradley Klapper and Jason Straziuso, The Independent, 16 October 2011, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/us-sends-in-troops-to-take-on-africas-most-barbaric-guerrillas-2371377.html
10. "US troops arrive to 'kill or capture' Kony," by Tabu Butagira, Daily Monitor, 16 October 2011, http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/-/688334/1255912/-/bi13g4z/-/index.html
11."Uganda welcomes US troops to hunt rebel leaders," AFP, 16 October 2011, http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/2011/10/uganda-welcomes-us-troops-to-hunt-rebel-leaders/
12. "Four African nations crack down on LRA," BBC News, 16 October 2011, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-11558746
13. "US Sends 100 Troops to Uganda to Hunt Kony: Some Thoughts," by Mark Kersten, Justice in Conflict, 16 October 2011, http://justiceinconflict.org/2011/10/16/us-sends-100-troops-to-uganda-to-hunt-kony-some-thoughts/
14. "Analysis: Why Set US Troops on Africa Militants?" by Jason Straziuso, AP, 15 October 2011, http://www.military.com/news/article/analysis-why-set-us-troops-on-africa-militants.html
15. "Will the hawk stay up this time?", by Peter Fabricius, Independent Online , 18 October 2011, http://www.iol.co.za/dailynews/opinion/will-the-hawk-stay-up-this-time-1.1158934
16. "Uganda: US help against rebels overdue," AlJazeera, 16 October 2011, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfH75fF-0VI [VIDEO]
17. "Uganda: U.S. Troops To Help Fight Lord Resistance Army," by Jason Straziuso, Huffington Post, 15 October 2011, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/15/uganda-us-troops-lord-resistance-army_n_1012663.html
18. "US troops in Uganda to help topple Kony," Radio Netherlands, 15 October 2011, http://www.rnw.nl/africa/article/us-troops-uganda-help-topple-kony
19. "Obama orders U.S. troops to help chase down African 'army' leader," CNN, 15 October 2011, http://edition.cnn.com/2011/10/14/world/africa/africa-obama-troops/index.html
20. "LRA leader Joseph Kony: Why Obama sent US troops to Uganda to get him," by Howard LaFranchi, The Christian Science Monitor, 14 October 2011, http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Foreign-Policy/2011/1014/LRA-leader-Joseph-Kony-Why-Obama-sent-US-troops-to-Uganda-to-get-him
21. "Combating Violence Against Women, From The U.S. To Uganda," by Hannah Woit, Forbes (blog) , 16 October 2011, http://www.forbes.com/sites/hannahwoit/2011/10/16/combating-violence-against-women-from-the-u-s-to-uganda/
CICC's policy on the referral and prosecution of situations before the ICC:
The Coalition for the ICC is not an organ of the court. The CICC is an independent NGO movement dedicated to the establishment of the International Criminal Court as a fair, effective, and independent international organization. The Coalition will continue to provide the most up-to-date information about the ICC and to help coordinate global action to effectively implement the Rome Statute of the ICC. The Coalition will also endeavor to respond to basic queries and to raise awareness about the ICC's trigger mechanisms and procedures, as they develop. The Coalition as a whole, and its secretariat, do not endorse or promote specific investigations or prosecutions or take a position on situations before the ICC. However, individual CICC members may endorse referrals, provide legal and other support on investigations, or develop partnerships with local and other organizations in the course of their efforts. Communications to the ICC can be sent to: ICC P.O. box 19519 2500 CM the Hague, the Netherlands